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My Two Front Teeth

March 26, 2014

This is the story of how I lost my two front teeth and how they helped me to reconnect with old friends.
When I was a kid ages 2 to 8 I lived on the southwest side of Chicago at 87th and Damen. I have happy memories there.

There was a nice family living down the street with a boy who was a couple years older than me. His name was Paul. He was a nice all-American kid. Paul would often play with my brother and I. Paul had a older sister. Her name was Marilyn. We called her Mayo.

I remember when I was around 7 years old, I would walk down the street to their house and call on them to play. Maybe I couldn’t reach the doorbell, or maybe it was just customary, but I remember in the summer going to their side/back door down their gangway (a Chicago term for the walkway between two closely built houses) and calling out “Yooo, Paul! Yooo, Mayo!” If someone was home they would answer, and if they were home they would come out to play.

One game we played in our basement was Critter. That was over 40 years ago, but I still remember Critter. My little brother Michael was the critter, and he would chase Paul and I around our basement and our pool table. Paul and I were faster than Michael, so we would evade him somewhat easily, but we always made it interesting so that the critter didn’t give up. Sometimes Michael would fall and get hurt on our slippery floor in his socks. Paul had a fix for that. We didn’t want to get in trouble for getting Michael hurt. Paul would have to get Michael laughing fast. He had this song he would sing to the toon of the Pink Panther music. It was used on a commercial for a Pink Panther Flakes breakfast cereal. “Pink Panther Flakes are pink, and sweet as the Pink Panther cause they’re pink….tickle me pink”. The song always seemed to get Mikey laughing and we could resume our play of Critter without incident.

On one occasion of playing Critter, Paul and I were running around the pool table avoiding the critter when Paul slid on the floor in his socks and as he fell back his arms went back as he tried catching his balance and I was next to him and the back of his hand smashed into my mouth knocking out my two front teeth and sending them flying and making my mouth bleed.

That is the story of how I lost my two front teeth and having this picture taken, the only photo I have of my friends Paul and Marilyn/Mayo.


Left to right: Paul T., my brother Michael, me (toothless), my cousin, John and Marilyn (“Mayo”) T.


We moved away when I was 8 years old, keeping in touch with them briefly, but then losing touch for many, many years. But I never forgot our dear friends Paul and Mayo.

About 4 years ago, over 35 years later, I looked up Paul and Marilyn on Facebook. Their last name was somewhat common, so there were a few to choose from. I didn’t find Paul, but I found a Marilyn who might be my long lost friend, so I wrote to her asking if she was my friend from 87th and Damen. I soon received a “OMG Eddie Novick!” and I knew I had found my long lost friend. We’ve since chatted online and become friends again.

Like me, Marilyn is a writer.  She has a blog. Her blog is called Life on a Box Wine Budget. It is good reading. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She has also collaborated to write a couple of book. You can order them online and read them. Just go to and look for Living The Dream On A Box Wine Budget by Casey Quinn and Petrina Collins (pseudonyms) or her latest book Numb by Casey Quinn (pseudonym).

I still haven’t see Marilyn and Paul in over 40 years. But through the miracle of modern technology I am back in touch with Mayo. I hope to meet Mayo and Paul someday and reminisce about our days growing up on the southwest side of Chicago, going to St. Ethelreda School, eating French fries at the corner restaurant, calling on our friends in their gangway, playing bounce and fly baseball in the alley behind our houses and losing teeth playing Critter. Good times.


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